How Does Body Armor Stop a Bullet?
Body armor can mean the difference between life and death. A round shot from a .44 Magnum handgun travels at speeds reaching 1,500 feet per second and delivers an impact of 1,400 pounds per square foot. For those of you at home who do not hold degrees in physics, that bullet travels faster than F-16 fighter jet and hits harder than a direct punch from Mike Tyson in his prime. Check out the video below to see how a block of ballistic gel holds up against this deadly weapon:
(Credit for Video: Bullet Theory Films)
It doesn’t take an active imagination to picture the damage a weapon like this can cause the human body. A single shot from a gun of this caliber can result in death. This begs the question: How does a light weight piece of body armor stop a round that can tear through twelve inches of ballistic gel? The answer: It depends on the equipment you’re using.
Soft Body Armor
Soft armor provides protection from small-arms fire without being overly bulky or rigid. Despite its name, soft body armor contains some of the strongest materials available on the world market. Our soft armor products such as The Bodyguard Street and The Bodyguard Beast use a kevlar type material called Twaron. This material provides both protection and flexibility. Using overlapping fibers, Twaron creates a protective net that is 5-X stronger than steal. When a bullet strikes a Twaron jacket, the protective net distributes the energy throughout the jacket. This prevents penetration while minimizing impact. Don’t mistake protection for comfort. Getting shot while wearing a piece of soft body armor is closer to receiving a kick from a horse than a tap on the shoulder. A basketball sized bruise is better than a fist sized hole in your chest.
Soft body armor provides a protection level between levels 1 and 3a under the National Institute of Justice’s Armor Protection Scale. That means soft body armor can protect you from handgun-fire ranging from .22 caliber ammo to .44 caliber ammo. For more information on the National Institute of Justice’s Armor Protection Scale click here.
Ballistic Hard Plate Body Armor
While soft armor maximizes mobility and flexibility, ballistic hard plate armor maximizes protection. Hard plate body armor is made from either steel or ceramic. These plates may be heavier and less flexible than Twaron, but plating provides protection from higher caliber weapons. While soft armor stops gunfire from most handguns, plate armor can stop rounds shot from rifles. The ballistic plates work in a similar way to the Twaron in our soft armor. The plates prevent penetration and minimizes impact by spreading out the force of the bullet. Our Bodyguard Switchblade Bulletproof Backpack uses both front and back plate carriers for maximum protection. Ballistic plating leads to an NIJ rating of 3 and above.
Get your body armor before you need it and stay safe!